This famous surname with many spellings forms which include O'Ruane, O'Rowane, (O)'Roan, Ro(u)ane, Rowan, Rowen, Rewan, Royan, Raun and Roon, both Irish, Scottish and English. The Irish and Scottish forms are an anglicized form of the Olde Gaelic O'Ruadhan, and translates as the descendant of Ruadhan. The latter was a personal diminutive of 'ruadh' meaning 'red' and was originally given as a nickname to someone with red hair or a ruddy complexion, possiblym a Viking or Anglo-Saxon raider. Irish branches of the original clan established themselves throughout the provinces of Munster, Leinster and Connacht. In Scotland the first recording was in 1511 when Agnes Rowan was tenant of the Bishop of Glasgow. In England the name is much rarer, and is locational for a person resident by a 'rowan tree', or more likely is an 'import' from Ireland or Scotland. An example taken from the English records is that of Edmund Roune, who married Anne Nash, at the church of St Mary Aldermary, London, in 1714. An example of the early Irish recordings includes on June 10th 1584, Moriertagh O'Rowane of Ballinvalle, Co. Wexford, who witnessed a pardon. The ancient Irish Annals of the Four Masters, refers to the Rowans as 'people of property and importance in the Barony of Gallen, Co. Mayo'. The Connacht sept produced no less than seven Bishops of the province. The coat of arms has the blazon of a red lion passant gardant, in chief three red knights spurs, on a silver field. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Felix O' Ruadhain, Archbishop of Tuam, which was dated 1215, attended the Lateran Council in Rome as Irish Prelate, during the reign of King Cathal of Ireland, known as 'Red hand', 1198 -1224. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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